Because we had to move out of the house for this remodel, this was a perfect opportunity for me to take on a project that I have wanted to do for several years, ever since I saw the spectacular results achieved by a neighbor of mine, Raymond Paquin. He stripped all the paint off his beams and stained them, and the results were stunning.
Fortunately for me, there is a relatively new tool that makes what was once a horrific job much easier. Called the PaintShaver, it is a type of electric plane that cuts the overall time by at least 80%. These two photos (scroll down the page) show how effective this tool really is. It completely strips the paint down to bare wood in just two passes. I stripped all the interior beams in less than 4 days. After that, there's more sanding and detail work, but that is relatively easy. I will also be stripping the exterior beams to match.
The beams will be stained with a Cabot semi-transparent stain called "Hickory" which is a dark brown, but we've made it significantly darker by adding more black to the mix. The ceiling will be repainted a warm light grey (they were originally stained light grey, but unfortunately a previous owner painted them white).
An unexpected surprise was the discovery of continuous beams running the length of the exterior walls of the new kitchen / dining room area (shown at the rear of the top photo), in the wall separating the new living room from the master bedroom, and in a wall in Rosemary's office at the front of the house (lower photo). These beams were hidden by the old paneling, and I didn't know they were there. We now plan to leave them exposed, stopping the new wall surfaces at their lower edge. You can't have too many natural wood surfaces in an Eichler home.
Continue to view photos of the demolition phase.